You might think Superman is a myth. Given the feat that man has done you could not think otherwise. It may not be exactly as DC Comics described it, but today’s ‘supermen’ build super-cities that exceed the wildest imagination of millions.
Buildings have differing materials, but steel is one of the most widely used.
Erecting the Super Structures
Think of the tallest structures today from the Burj Khalifa to the Sydney Opera House, steel has made modern civilization possible, and its recyclability made it the cornerstone (corner metal?) of society. Still, all these metals coming together are only possible because of the equipment that erect and assemble them, such as cranes.
This is why servicing cranes are essential, or the assembly of these mega structures would not only be unsafe and inefficient, it would be downright impossible. Wong Fong Engineering however notes below that cranes can lift metals like steel, to slightly exotic ones like titanium and aluminium.
Battle of Metals
Steel is an alloy of iron. And usually when iron is used, it is in the form of steel, as the iron alloy is harder and stronger – not to mention it’s less likely to rust. No wonder those sharp kitchen knives are made of stainless steel.
Still, the spotlight could be stolen from steel by aluminium. As placed in graphic summary by a BBC informative article when it comes to building cars, aluminium has lower density than iron. That means, a car with an aluminium body would be much lighter than one with steel body and would therefore consume less fuel. A crane erecting aluminium beams, for example, can do this at a fraction of the energy required for steel ones, thus conserving fuel as well.
Secondly, aluminium does not corrode as much as steel. A car with an aluminium body lasts longer than one with steel. The drawback is price: aluminium is pricier than steel, but its longevity offsets the additional cost.
Metals make the world go around, but aluminium is shaping to be the futuristic metal you have seen in the retro-future utopia a la The Jetsons. Still, whatever material our Tomorrow land is made of, cranes, unless superseded by more efficient machines, will always be there to raise them up.